The essential role of non-alcoholic RTDs under alcohol bans: Doña Distillery’s Harry fills a gap
Wow, what a year 2020 has been! And 2021 wasn’t exactly off to a great start, either…
Says Danielle Schoeman, founder and CEO of Doña Distillery in Cape Town, “I am sure I am not the only distiller that was under pressure to find alternative ways to keep the lights on. At Doña Distillery we found some relief in the non-alcoholic category and learned more about our consumers preferences for non-alcoholic drinks.
“This is such an interesting category to be part of and it is always fascinating to see the expressions of customers coming in for a spirit tasting when we explain that we also produce non-alcoholic drinks. It is usually met with sincere disgust or true appreciation.”
Danielle notes that 2020 was a year which focused a lot of attention on the category – and this was not just due to alcohol bans during lockdown, it’s a category that has been growing and expanding for the last four years. At Doña Distillery we had a few non-alcoholic drinks in development long before lock-down, but expedited it soon after.
We also found that the consumer has evolved.
People are drinking much less alcohol, or no alcohol at all, for a number of reasons be it religious, pregnancy or the infamous “dry months”. One of the biggest contributing factors to the increase in the non-alcoholic category, however, is that people are becoming more health conscious and living healthier and active lifestyles.
“Our research showed that the non-alcoholic consumers also want options – this is why we have seen such a rise in mocktail bars, especially in Europe. The days of drinking a soda or juice when not drinking alcohol, are over. Consumers demand quality options and they also want to experiment with new and interesting flavours, or a new take on a traditional drink while enjoying the social aspect of drinking.
“Taking these learnings we wanted to create a beverage that is functional as well as convenient, hence the RTD, but also has all of the elements you would expect from a modern new beverage – Harry Non-alcoholic Bitter Orange Spritz was born. We infused the upcoming cocktail culture with the growing health conscious consumer and sprinkled it with the European flavour trend to create Harry – a non-alcoholic bitter orange spritz.
Harry was awarded the 2020 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards Trophy for the Best Ready to Drink entry.
Harry is a low sugar, non-alcoholic spritz with a classic fresh, bitter orange taste and a slight herbal aftertaste. Harry can be enjoyed on the beach, while on road trip or just when out with friends. At Doña, we are definitely embracing this new category and will be launching more non-alcoholic drinks during 2021. Be on the lookout for Harry Spritz online and in selected stores around the Western Cape.
Doña means “woman of rank”.
The distillery is situated in the winelands in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, where they specialise in contract distilling, producing and developing innovative and exciting new products such as gin, rum, vodka and non-alcoholic drinks. The turn-key process includes sourcing local, raw material, fermenting, distilling, bottling and labeling every product which leaves the distillery.